The Lisbon Coast is blessed with excellent sandy beaches ideal for both families or water sports enthusiasts, located only a short distance away from our holiday villas and city centre apartment rentals. And whilst the Atlantic is somewhat colder than the Mediterranean, this also ensures that they are washed clean by oceanic tides daily. Our favourite beaches in the region are:
From Lisbon city centre you can walk to the Cais do Sodré station next to the river Tagus and get the Linha de Cascais – the train journey takes approximately 45 minutes to its final destination 26 kms away, running along the riverside past many small coves and beaches all the way to where the river Tagus meets the ocean at Cascais.
Some twenty-five minutes along the journey, Carcavelos is well worth stopping at – the station is located in the middle of a small town of the same name and a 15-minute walk will take you to the beach. Praia de Carcavelos has a large fortification called Forte de São Julião da Barra to the east, once used to protect the Tagus’ entrance from enemy ships. This popular beach offers good facilities for families. As well as being swim-friendly it has reliable surf conditions ideal for those wanting to learn the sport, and some surf academies are based here. You can also play beach volley, jog or skate along the beachside walkway. Or just sit and soak in the atmosphere at one of the many cafés, bars and restaurants to choose from.
Another suggestion is to get off the train a bit further on and choose your beach spot by foot between São João do Estoril and Cascais. A scenic pedestrian walkway called “paredão” runs along the seaside for approximately 3 kms between these two stops. Not only it provides access to several beaches, but it also makes for an enjoyable leisurely walk at any time of the year, popular with both locals and holidaymakers.
One of our favourite beaches along the “paredão” is the minute Praia da Azarujinha. Protected from the wind by high rock cliffs, its located 5 minutes away from Estoril station walking along the pedestrian walkway back towards Lisbon. This tiny beach is much-loved by a younger crowd but has very little sand available to stretch your towel on. Best to walk there from whatever station you get off, take a dip in the ocean, then walk back towards Cascais. There is a kiosk with great views between Azarujinha and the next family beach Praia da Poça, an ideal stop for an ice-cold beer and a plate of “tremoços” (lupin beans)!
Just below Estoril train station and overlooked by palatial homes and high-end hotels, is the cosmopolitan Praia do Tamariz. This pleasant and popular family beach has an oceanic pool carved on the rocks which is especially great for kids. Once upon a time, Tamariz was considered the most elegant beach in Portugal – the Linha de Cascais was colonised by Europe’s exiled royalty during the first half of the 20th century and elegant Estoril became one of the chicest addresses during the inter-war years! Tamariz also has perfect conditions for practising some stand-up paddle-boarding.
Due to their relatively easy access, however, the Linha de Cascais beaches get quite busy at weekends as well as during the high summer months.
The sunsets from the wild and rugged coast located just north of Cascais are truly spectacular and well worth staying on late at the beach for, whilst enjoying a glass or two of locally produced wine!
Located approximately 5 kms from Cascais, at times windswept but always stunning, Praia do Guincho is not so great for children splashing about due to its big Atlantic waves, but it’s perfect for experienced windsurfers, kite surfers, bodyboarders and surfers. Located next to the beach bar is the Wave Centre from where you can hire equipment, book a lesson and have a hot shower after an active day on the beach. Bar do Guincho also serves great food and beverages. The car park is charged.
Praia da Adraga sitting just below the Sintra National Parque, is a hidden gem hidden by green hills. It has a natural beauty enhanced by rock formations and raging seas, so beware to dip into the water only if you are a strong swimmer. Further north are the charming beach towns of Praia das Maçãs and Azenhas do Mar, well worth a visit especially if you are into your seafood and fresh fish, which most of the local restaurants specialise in.
The longest beach near Lisbon, Costa da Caparica is 15 kms and situated on the south side of the river Tagus, just 20 minutes drive from central Lisbon.
Loved by the Portuguese, this continuous stretch of golden sand can sometimes feel like the Caribbean, with warm clear water perfect for long family days at the beach. It has a great swell too for beginners or intermediate surfers, whilst calmer days create suitable conditions for paddle-boarding. And there is plenty of space for everyone.
Within a natural setting, the beach is divided into different borderless areas, generally named after a beach bar.
Although pubic transport alternatives are available, we recommend you either drive there in your hired cat or use Uber.
North of Caparica town the beach is called São João da Caparica and one paid car park gives access to all the beach bars in that stretch.
South of Caparica town, the Transpraia mini beach train runs between the 1st June and 30th September and between 9.30 am and 7:30 pm, connecting all the different beaches and carparks (some paid).
Just wave and hop on, and ring the bell to stop at the beach of your choice. A return ticket costs just under €10 which is not that reasonable, but hey it’s all about the trip!
The train starts at Costa de Caparica, and stops at Saude, Golfinho, Cornelia, Piedense, Mata/Bar da Ponte, Praia do Forte, Praia da Riviera, Rainha, Castelo, Cabana do Pescador, Rei/Hula Hula, Borda d’Agua, Waikiki, Tartaruginha, Casa da Praia, Praia 19/Belavista, Praia Azul and Fonte da Telha.
Early in the morning, you are likely to find some local fishermen puling-in their catch, which they will sell on the beach. Praia 19 is preferred by naturalists and Fonte da Telha is a kite surfer’s paradise.
In the summer months, there is also a trendy nightlife beach-bar scene if you want to stay on beyond enjoying your sundowner drinks. The sunsets from the Costa de Caparica are stunning!
Most beaches offer facilities such as beaches bars with toilets, some watersports, shade and chairs for hire and a lifeguard. Watch out for the flag system indicating bathing conditions: RED for danger – do not bathe; YELLOW for bathe with caution; GREEN for safe; BLACK & WHITE CHECK for beach unattended.
Keep in mind too that all beaches in Portugal however remote, get crowded in July and August!